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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Up The Calories

I'm not the smartest guy in the world when it comes to running.

As I've mentioned before, all the advice and information that I offer in this blog comes essentially from personal experience, common sense, and Runner's World. For the most part, these tips make total sense, and, when possible, I try to adhere to them as closely as I can. However, there are many things about my running routine that are just plain dumb.

First, I have an awkward running stride. I bounce a lot, and any number of coaches have tried to teach me otherwise, only to find it slow me down. Someone once told Michael Johnson (Olympic gold medalist in the 200 and 400) that his stride was ridiculous, which it is. They said to him, if you can go that fast with your weird style, do you have any idea what would happen if you fixed your form? He responded that he knew exactly what would happen. He'd lose.

There are several other things that I do wrong. I don't stretch enough (though I'm getting better), I rarely seek any sort of medical attention for injuries, and I push myself too hard on runs that are not designed to be speed work (see yesterday's post). However, there's one thing I've been doing wrong the last week or so that I need to change immediately, and that is having bad eating habits. Not (just) eating bad food, but missing meals entirely.

For a couple weeks, life has been a little hectic. I have been getting home after 11 while trying to be awake before 6. We've been involved in several other appointments throughout the week, and as a result, I have not been eating regularly. It hasn't been too much of a problem thus far, but about half a mile into today's run, I knew it was going to be a fighter kind of morning.

Being the third 5-mile day in a row, I wanted to do my hill work course. It's a quiet neighborhood, but the hills are pretty rough.

I would have done this yesterday if I'd been up before the sun, so it was still in my head that I wanted to get in some hills this week. However, I went back and forth in my mind on what to do, even to the point that I got to my starting line. Still, I decided that I needed to get in some up and down time, and I didn't want to add it in to my 8-miler on Friday, so off I went. Almost immediately, I felt myself having to dig deep for energy, and that's when I realized that I hadn't had dinner the previous night. In fact, all I'd eaten since my speed work was a protein bar.

My mind hit reset. Today would absolutely not be about speed. It was to be about covering the miles and defeating the hills, which I did without too much further drama, though I do marvel how early it gets unbearably humid. Only near the end, when I had to stop for the one traffic light on my course, did I feel light-headed at all. I took some deep breaths and finished out my last half mile or so nice and easy. When I got home, I weighed myself (as I do after every run) to find that I'd dropped 3.5 pounds that I simply did not have to lose. I've already had my protein, and a big bowl of cereal is next.

The moral, if there is one, is that I've got to make time for all aspects of my health, meals included. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, and cut back on the snacking. It all seems so simple, but putting it into practice is where the trouble comes in. Still, if my big concern right now is that I'm not eating enough, then I've got some easily solvable problems. I'll use the next two days to fuel up for the my weekend of 27 miles, the most I'll run in two days until the weekend of the marathon. Given my recent successes in training, I'm not too worried about being a little slower today. There were many factors involved, all of which are easily controlled. As long as I plan ahead, I shouldn't have any problems.

I've just got to keep gas in the tank.

Wednesday's Run:
76 Degrees / Cloudy
5.39 Miles
42 Minutes, 37 Seconds

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